Synopsis of last week's most important good news from around the world.
It's traditional at the start of a new year to review the progress achieved during the previous year, and OGN featured two good news summaries last week admiring the achievements of 2023. If you missed them, you may like to dive into 2023: Year of Significant Progress For Global Health and / or 2023: The Best Year Ever For Clean Energy.
Breast Cancer Vaccine: A triple-negative breast cancer vaccine has shown good response in the first clinical trial of patients. The new drug targets the deadliest form of breast cancer and the trial found that the drug elicits no side effects and triggered an immune response in 75 percent of patients. It could be available in five years, estimates ABC’s medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.
Irish Constitution: Ireland is considering a nationwide referendum on the rights of nature and the human right to a healthy environment. The idea for the dual amendments to the country's constitution emanated from a Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, which produced numerous recommendations aimed at protecting plants, animals and other living beings.
US Nature Survey: The US has started its biggest ever survey of nature and wildlife. The National Nature Assessment is being hailed as a ground-breaking survey aimed at protected America's natural resources. The project director summed up the endeavour as a comprehensive effort “to take stock of nature and nature’s benefits.”
Saiga Rebounds: The timeless talisman of the Central Asian steppes has come off the Critically Endangered list. This reflects the remarkable rebound in saiga numbers, particularly its Kazakhstan stronghold, where populations have bounced back from a perilously low 48,000 individuals in 2005 to a new high of over 1.9 million.
Elvis is in the Building: The King of Rock' n' Roll will once again be seen by a new generation of fans, this time in hologram form. Following on from the trailblazing success of Abba Avatar, Elvis Presley is getting the futuristic treatment in Elvis Evolution, an "immersive concert experience" using artificial intelligence and holographic projection, which will debut in London in November.
Natural Gas Phase-Out: Massachusetts has become the first U.S. state to approve the phase-out of natural gas as a source for residential heating - and it likely won’t be the last. According to CleanTechnica, at least 11 other states have ongoing regulatory cases that are exploring the future of natural gas.
First $100 Billion Woman: Françoise Bettencourt Meyers - granddaughter of the founder of L'Oréal, and the world's wealthiest woman - has become the first woman to amass a $100 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. "The milestone came as shares of L'Oréal SA, the beauty products empire founded by her grandfather, rose to a record high, with the stock set for its best year since 1998," per Bloomberg.
London Commuters: Two-wheeled transportation is dominating London’s rush hour these days. According to a new report, bicycles now outnumber cars during peak commute hours. A recent count - on a wet and windy day, no less - revealed that people on bikes represented 40 percent of non-pedestrian rush hour traffic.
The Impossible Fish: The snailfish, with its extraordinary physical capabilities, has broken the record for living at the deepest ocean depths known to humanity. In fact scientists believed it was physiologically impossible for fish to survive conditions below 8,200 metres, reports The Conversation. That was until researchers found one at a record-shattering 8,336 metres in the Izu-Ogasawara Trench, south of Japan. That’s 158 metres deeper than the previous record, also set by a snailfish during an encounter in 2017 in the Marianas Trench.
Keyboard Upgrade: Microsoft’s keyboards are to get their biggest update in 30 years with the addition of a new artificial intelligence (AI) button. Tapping the 'Copilot' key will bring up a chatbot screen on new Windows laptops, which will respond to written questions or search requests from the user.
Germany on Track: The share of renewables on Germany's power grids rose to 55 percent of the total last year, as Europe's largest economy moves closer to its 2030 target, reports Reuters. Germany wants green power to account for 80 percent of its energy mix by 2030.
Clean Slate: President Joe Biden has issued a federal pardon for all Americans who have used marijuana in the past, including those who were never arrested or prosecuted, covering both personal use and convictions for similar federal crimes. The move aims to address the impact of criminal records on employment, housing, and education opportunities, with thousands eligible for pardons.
Potable Reuse: California is set to adopt regulations allowing sewage to be extensively treated and transformed into pure drinking water delivered directly to taps. This move represents a milestone in the state's efforts to address water scarcity by recycling more water, with the regulations permitting "direct potable reuse" to incorporate highly treated water into the drinking-water system.
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